Message from IAFP president, regarding the 2020 IAFP Annual Convention:

Message from Nykki Boersma, MD, IAFP president, regarding the 2020 IAFP Annual Convention:

To my Family Medicine family in Indiana:

When the IAFP Board and the Commission on Education began planning this year’s Annual Convention, it was a sweltering sunny day in July and the only people concerned about coronaviruses were a handful of virologists and medical students studying for their boards. We reviewed our attendance and member engagement, and as the feedback arrived from the 2019 Annual Convention we started planning to bring back an even better year in 2020.

On the agenda along with our all-member Congress of Delegates were the return of Essential Evidence, group KSAs, new updates on clinically relevant topics from family physicians, opportunities for fellowship, and another All-Member party (with trivia!). We have been so excited to see you all again, and we’ve been working hard to continue to be the provider of choice for family medicine education in Indiana, as well as continuing our traditions of increasing engagement and fostering close connections between our members.

Today is May 10th, 2020. Four months ago, on January 19th, the first known patient with SARS-CoV-2 infection presented to an urgent care in Snohomish, Washington. As of today, more than 1.2 million Americans, including over 24,000 Hoosiers, have been infected with this virus, and 1,300 Hoosiers have died. Drastic public health measures have been undertaken in the last few months to combat COVID-19 and it can be anticipated that the numbers will still continue to rise for the near future.

The mission of the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians is to promote and advance family medicine in order to improve the health of Indiana. In order to do that, we must be leaders, and we must do the right thing even when it hurts us. For that reason, your IAFP Board of Directors has unanimously voted to cancel the 2020 IAFP Annual Convention.

Your Executive Team and I will be in touch with all of you regarding our plans for the Congress of Delegates, as well as available online CME opportunities and virtual Academy social events in the coming months. There continues to be a need for strong family medicine voices during this crisis, and no virus can stop family medicine physicians from advocating for our patients and our specialty. We will need to reach out to each other, to stay connected, and to support each other -- just as we always have -- during this crisis, and your Academy wants to help make that possible.

In these complicated and difficult times, family physicians in Indiana have stepped up. In an environment where other specialties have had to close down completely, we’ve continued to take care of our patients in any way we can. Your Academy has been in close contact with the Department of Health and other specialty societies to spread factual, understandable, actionable information to all Hoosiers, but YOU have been doing the hardest work -- one patient at a time.

I am so proud of my specialty right now, and of all of the work that Indiana family physicians have been doing. More than anything, I want to see you all face to face this summer at our Annual Convention. I want to give handshakes and hugs and high-fives. I want to teach and learn and advocate and debate and do trivia with you. I want to reach out to every one of you to let you know how much I appreciate the work you have done and continue to do.

But this year, I’m not going to be able to do that. Not only are we as family physicians responsible for attending to the health of our most vulnerable patients, we are responsible for our own health and well-being, and for the health of our colleagues. Many of us have seen a devastating impact on our businesses during this pandemic and may no longer have the luxury of taking time off. Many of us have chronic conditions that can put us at risk. Some of us are over the age of 65 (but only a bit). We have to make sure we can continue to do the great things that we’re doing.

I’m going to miss you all this summer, but I am confident that this is the right decision -- for our specialty’s role in promoting public health, for our own health, and for the health of our patients. Be safe this year, be well, and keep doing what you do. We make a difference every day.

In solidarity,

Nykki Boersma, MD (Greensburg, IN)
President, Indiana Academy of Family Physicians